I have wanted to go to Diani for the longest time and a few weeks ago when almost everyone was at the beach, somehow that FOMO got to me. I had planned to visit Diani in September but this year just showed us that we plan then life happens to our plans. All in all, the plan was to do this trip on a shoestring budget so together with Mimitimes we got to it. Good thing is she had been there so this wasn’t going to be difficult. This post was however triggered by that meme that was going around on someone reading a book on how to go to Diani with 1203. Did you see it? If that is you then this here is for you lol the budget ain’t 1203 but maybe it has an extra zero lol.
Facts about Diani
- It is located south of Mombasa approximately 30km from Mombasa town.
- It has been voted Africa’s leading beach for the fifth time in a row since 2015.
- The beach is about 17km long.
- It has a small airstrip that is located between the beach and the Mombasa- Lunga Lunga road.
- It is adjacent to Ukunda town which has grown significantly and has a population of about over 100,000 inhabitants.
There are several ways to get to Diani. From the road, air and finally rail. As it is now, going by road is impossible because of the ban on night travel. Unless you plan on spending an extra day in Mombasa. Air is out because we want to do this on a budget. Our option is SGR which you board at Syokimau where Nairobi terminus is located. Kindly book your tickets in advance, these tickets normally sell out very fast, and once you do please get there on time. Right now, they encourage people to arrive at least two hours earlier because of the times we are living in. On the SGR there is first class and the economy class. I would go with economy any day because years after SGR was launched, I am yet to understand the hype around using first class. I haven’t tried it so maybe I should keep quiet. To those who have, how is it? Anyway, economy will cost you $10 (Ksh.1000). The SGR will leave you at the Mombasa terminus- Miritini- Here you’ll find shuttles that ferry people to Diani. They have express passes at the ferry so do not worry about that long line. These shuttles do charge between $6- $10 (KSh 600-1000) per person. Bargain chances of you getting a good deal are always high.
Moving around Diani
I realized that moving around could be expensive depending on the means of transport you decide to use. Given that the locals know how to identify tourists, at times some end up overcharging you. Uber is available but the easiest way to move around is by using tuk-tuks. They are available all over and they charge a maximum of $0.5 (Ksh.50). Still, bargain always because the trick is to cut on cost. Car hires are available and they charge from $60-$100 (Ksh 6000-10,000) depending on where you are going.
I just realized that Diani has a variety of accommodation options. From villas, cottages, hostels to Airbnb. The best way to ace this accommodation budget is to travel with a few friends so that you can split the cost. It is also okay if you are doing a solo trip you will always find something that works for you at a friendly price. Also, you can book on Airbnb and you can get a $65 discount off your first booking if you book here. The reason why it is advisable to use the options that I have mentioned is that you get to do a lot of things on your own. With some you’ll even get to prepare your meals. Trick here is to prepare at least two meals that is dinner and breakfast since most likely you will be on the move over lunch. If you are not about preparing your meals while on vacation, these places usually have chefs you can hire for like $15(Ksh. 1500) per day. For us, we stayed at coral beach resort and cottages and this place was amazing. I mean, it was beachfront, we had a swimming pool and very spacious rooms. Coral beach has options you can check them out to find something that works for you.
If you settle on making your meals, you can shop at Ukunda there is a Naivas, I saw FoodPlus now have a branch and Carrefour is opening soon so you will get to shop a variety of things.
Once you have sorted out accommodation and transport then the rest of your expenditure will be on daily food most likely lunch while on the move and money for activities that you would love to do. Activities vary and I would advise that you start with those that are free or maybe are not expensive. For instance, you can go chase sunset at Kongo river, this place has killer views and the beach is too clean. You will love it also you will finally get to see one of the Indian oceans tributary feed water into it. Entry is free but if you plan on doing a boat ride then it will cost you about $10 (Ksh. 1000).
Diani is known for clean beaches like I had mentioned earlier so you can visit other beaches and get a feel of them too. While at it you can visit Kisite Marine Park. For us, this was a must-visit and Kago Holidays came through with a package that was inclusive of lunch, snorkeling, Wasini Island tour, hotel pickup, and drop off. Talk to her if you want this same deal. Accessing Kisite via public means is a hustle you do not want to find yourself in. Packages range from $35- $45, at Kago we paid $35. Remember, you can never exhaust all the activities on one visit, plan everything and budget around it, see if it fits in your budget plus there is always next time. As for me, I wanted to see how Diani looks like since everyone had been talking about it. For the next visits, I will plan on doing more activities and it is okay.
One last thing, avoid planning your trips during high seasons like right now accommodation prices have started going up. Target low seasons at least with that you will be able to get better deals. Or, you can travel now but kindly book way earlier.
Go visit Diani if not for anything else then for the sunrise over the ocean. It is here that I saw and woke up to beautiful sunrises for three days straight. This was also my first time in Diani, I will definitely go back.
Shout out to Yvonne, Lilian, Ciira for these amazing capture and Coral beach for making this Diani trip worthwhile.
Have you been to Diani? What are some of the things that you would recommend to someone who is planning to travel to Diani on a budget?
Till next time; Just go!